Plenary proceedings of the House of Representatives for Thurdsay, March 22, 2018, The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara presiding
After the Speaker led the opening prayer, he went on to examine and adopt plenary votes and proceedings for Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Hon. Hassan Saleh brought a petition from a constituent of his who is a pilot with plenty of flying time. He has remained stagnant at one grade level without promotion despite writing the exam many times.
Hon. Chris Emeka brought a petition from the African Art and Culture center who are protesting the decline of their application for an office space at the Shehu Yar’adua center, Abuja
MATTERS OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
Hon. Aliyu Madaki brought the Motion on the harassment of traders in Kano market by Officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service. He called for the Comptroller of Customs to charge his Officers to cease the indiscriminate seizure of traders’ goods, he also urged the House Committee on Customs to investigate the matter and report back to the House for further Legislative action. The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara pointed out that the most important functions of the Nigeria Customs is to facilitate trade and by Law they can trace contraband to any market and seize them. What he finds puzzling however, is the alleged seizure of goods produced in Nigeria. The Motion It was voted on and passed.
Hon. Kingsley Chinda brought a Motion stating that the Presidential Panel on the recovery of looted funds seem to be duplicating the functions of the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the Motion was necessitated by outcry by Nigerians against the Panel, as an investigative Motion, it was voted on and passed.
Hon. Dave Ombugadu brought the Motion on the need to raise awareness of the danger posed by tuberculosis in Nigeria in commemoration of the World Tuberculosis day in honor of people living with the dreaded disease. He stated that Parliaments Worldwide have agreed to address tuberculosis as it is the highest killer of those living with HIV/AIDS. He urged the House Members to rally support in order to stamp out tuberculosis in Nigeria. In contributing, Hon. Obinna Chidoka stated that the underfunding of the Health Sector was a strong cause of the prevalence of these diseases. The Motion was voted on and passed.
Hon. Razak Atunwa brought the Motion on the collective breach of the privileges of the House of Representatives by a Justice of the High Court. On 19th, December 2017 the House set to investigate the denying of a Nigerian of her Law Degree entitlement for refusing to remove her hijab. The Committee of the House were informed that a Body of Benchers had decided to deliberate on the matter, to which the Committee decided to suspend its Hearing to be able to consider the view of the meeting of the Body of Benchers. It was therefore a thing of shock to hear the Judgment seeking to bar the House from carrying out the investigation, a clear violation of Its Constitutional right. He urged the House to take serious actions and write a strong worded letter to the Chief Justice of the Federation stating the position of the House on the matter. Hon. Orker Jev stated that the precedent that the Court seeks to set is very dangerous as it is Ruling on a matter not yet debated, this can make individuals just look at the Order Paper for debate, if they see what does not favor them, all they have to do is to rush to Court to get injunctions. Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa stated that the House should not take the issue lightly, that the House of Representatives is a composition of the Nigerian people with distinct separation of powers, and Members should rise up and defend the integrity of the House. The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara stated that as his personal view, separation of powers should not be crossed. If Parliament passed a Resolution against the Court, they would not oblige the Judiciary, so the Judiciary should not be seen to contravene the Constitution by flaunting the sovereignty of the Legislature as representatives of the Nigerian people. The Motion was voted on and passed.
Hon. Agbonayinma Johnson brought a Motion under personal explanation to explain about an interview he granted a Television station pertaining a matter referred to the Committee on Ethics and Privileges. He went to tender an unreserved apology. Hon. Orker Jev stated that while it is right to forgive Hon. Agbonayinma, the House had on Wednesday, March 21 took a Resolution and it can only be rescinded by laid down rules and procedures of the House. The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara sought assurances from Hon. Agbonayinma that his mistake will not be repeated. The Motion that Hon. Agbonayinma be forgiven was put to a vote and passed.
Hon. Bukar Goni brought the Motion and came under personal explanation to commend the House of Representatives for standing with him in his trying time after the kidnap of the school girls in Dapchi, Yobe State. He pleaded for the release of the remaining girl and the Chibok school girls.
PRESENTATION OF BILLS
1. Federal Polytechnics Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB1378) (Hon. Babangida Ibrahim) – First Reading
2. National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (HB. 1379)( Hon. Faruk Abdullahi) – First Reading
3. Secondary School Certificate Examinations Standard (Regulation) Board Bill, 2018 (HB. 1380) (Hon. Abbas Tajudeen) – First Reading
4. Nigerian Cashew Crop Promotion Agency Bill, 2018 (HB 1381) (Hon. Olajide Olatubosun) – First Reading
5. Trustee Investments Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018(HB. 1382) (Hon. Adedapo Lam-Adesina) – First Reading
6. Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (Establishment) Bill, 2018(HB. 1383) (Hon. Uzoma Nkem Abonta) – First Reading
PRESENTATION OF REPORTS
Report of the Conference Committee on Constitution Alteration Bills, 2017.
Hon. Sulaimon Lasun Yussuff:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Conference Committee on Constitution Alteration Bills, 2017”.
Ad-hoc Committee on the Need to Investigate the Disappearance, and subsequent Reinstatement and Promotion of Abdulrasheed Maina, the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform.
Hon. Aliyu Sani Madaki:
“That the House do receive the Report of the Ad-hoc Committee on the Need to Investigate the Disappearance, and Subsequent Reinstatement and Promotion of Abdulrasheed Maina, the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform. (HR. 128/2017) (Referred: 24/10/2017).
ORDERS OF THE DAY
A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund for the speedy Completion of the Project; and for Related Matters (HB. 1371) (Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta and 300 Others) – Second Reading.
Hon. Abonta stated that the essence of the Bill was to fill the existing gaps on the issue. He stated that one of their main functions as Representatives was investigation through Oversighting, he thanked the Speaker for his personal commitment to the issue. He begged Members to not only ensure the Bill passes for Second Reading, but to fast track the process of its passage. He also called for the establishment of a special fund for the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Company. The Bill was voted on, passed for Second Reading and referred to the House Committee of the Whole.
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act, Cap. I.17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Increase the Capital Expenditure for Companies applying for Pioneer Status under the Provisions of this Bill; and for Related Matters (HB. 1369) (Hon. Henry Nwawuba) – Second Reading.
Hon. Nwawuba stated that the Bill aims principally to encourage investments into critical sectors of the country, and to give some relief for companies falling under Pioneer Status to aid their growth and development. He said that through this, companies already enjoying Pioneer Status can still benefit to increase their investment in Nigeria. He called for the amendment of the Act to enable the economic diversifying moves of the Federal Government and the ease of doing business in Nigeria succeed. The Bill was voted on, passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committee of the Whole.
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Act, Cap. N112, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; and for Related Matters (HB. 1125) (Hon. Aminu Shehu Shagari) – Second Reading.
Hon. Shagari stated that the Bill seeks to standardize the existing Act so as to make it unambiguous and clear for easy interpretation and to increase the competence of the Institute. It also seeks to increase the retirement age of professors in the Institute from 65 to 70. The Bill was voted on, passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committee on Justice.
A Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST); and for Related Matters (HB. 1347) (Hon. Garba Datti Muhammad) – Second Reading.
Hon. Datti stated that the Institute had been established in 1964 as a Training Center and later upgraded to a Research Institute. He state that the importance of leather and hides and skins to the economy of Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. He however stated that the Institute does not have a Legal Backing to operate as the Decree establishing it has been repealed. The Bill was voted on, passed and referred to the Committee on Science and Technology.
A Bill for an Act to Establish Federal Polytechnic, Owaza-Asa, Abia State to Provide for Equity and Access to Tertiary Education in the Country, make Comprehensive Provisions for its due Management and Administration; and for Related Matters (HB. 1257) (Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta) – Second Reading.
Hon. Abonta stated that the Bill seeks to give Abia State equity as they have no Federal Polytechnic in the State. The provision of most of the infrastructure has been provided by the Ministry of Niger-Delta,Mende the construction shouldn’t be too expensive. He asked for the support of the House to ensure this becomes a realizable feat. The Bill was voted on, passed for Second Reading and referred to the House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services.
A Bill for an Act to Amend the Public Enterprises (Privatization and Commercialization) Act, Cap. P38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Review the List of Enterprises to be Privatized; and for Related Matters (HB. 1372) (Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta and 300 Others) – Second Reading
Hon. Abonta stated that the Bill seeks to Amend the Act so that what can be privatized will be clear, so that such assets like the Ajaokuta Steel Company should be delisted from the Privatization list and protected as a National Asset. Hon. Betty Apiafi and Hon. Shehu Shagari supported the Bill and stated that Ajaokuta Steel Company should be completed so Nigerians can start reaping its benefits. The Bill was voted on, passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committee on the Whole.
Need to Reconstruct some Federal Roads in the Southern Part of Nigeria:
Hon. Francis Charles Uduyok:
Notes the deplorable conditions of some Federal roads in the Southern part of Nigeria and the danger they pose to Nigerians who travel on those roads;
Aware that the bad roads include Okene-Edo-Benin Road, Benin-Asaba Expressway, Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, Ife-Ibadan Expressway, Owerri-Port Harcourt Expressway, Lagos-Badagry Expressway among others;
Worried that the condition of those roads often results in fatal accidents on daily basis;
Also aware that the condition of those roads has forced transporters to search for alternative routes through surrounding villages in order to maneuver their way to the various States, thus causing those village roads to easily dilapidate within a short time as they were not built to accommodate high traffic and extremely heavy vehicles like trailers and tankers that ply the roads;
Informed that the bad state of the Road has resulted in damage to vehicles, high consumption of fuel due to more hours spent on the road, and consequent increase in transportation fares;
Desirous of the need for reconstruction of those roads to stave off the hardships being encountered by commuters, reduce accidents, and enhance commercial and economic activities between the adjoining States;
(i) Call on the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to initiate the process of reconstructing the dilapidated Federal Roads in the Southern part of the country;
(ii) Mandate the Committees on Works and Appropriations to include the reconstruction of those Roads in the 2018 budget estimates.
As an infrastructure related Motion, it was voted on and passed.
Need for Nigerians to be Cautious of Illegal Banks:
Hon. Joseph Edionwele:
Notes that it is the Constitutional responsibility of the Federal Government to ensure the security, safety and welfare of its citizens;
Aware that the activities of some illegal financial institutions, also known as wonder Banks have become alarming as they defraud depositors who are often enticed by promises of unusually high returns on investment;
Determined to take pro-active steps to stop the unwholesome practices by illegal Banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria;
(i)Urge the Central Bank of Nigeria to publish a list of certified financial institutions as well as ensure the implementation of strong regulatory and monitoring laws of Nigeria;
(ii)Mandate the Committee on Banking and Currency to investigate the unwholesome practices of those Banks with a view to getting statistical analysis of such banks and their promoters and bring the defaulters to book and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.
Hon. Joseph stated that there is a strong need for the Central Bank to strengthens its enlightenment of the public to ensure they do not fall prey to those running these illegal financial institutions. The Motion was voted on and passed.
Urgent Need to Curb the Rising Number of Out-of-School Children in Nigeria:
Hon. Akinwunmi Nurudeen Olaitan:
Hon. Abdul Raheem Olajide:
Notes that according to reports, Nigeria is one of the 10 countries in the world where majority of children are deprived access to education;
Also notes that according to BBC news of 25 July, 2017, Nigeria has an estimated 10.5 million children who are out of school.
Concerned that cultural factors, insurgency in the North Eastern part Nigeria, recent herdsmen/farmers clashes and inadequate provision for public funded schools in general are the major factors responsible for the incidence of children not being in school.
Also concerned that this problem has increased crime rate, worsen the economy, and exacerbate security issues;
Worried that the unprecedented level of insecurity in the country has further increased the rate of out-of-school whose future are jeopardized thus making them vulnerable as they become targets of Militia groups and insurgents;
Cognizant that provision of adequate funding for education will result in ensuring a more secured country and improved economy;
(i)Urge the Federal Government to invest more in teachers’ training, improve on student/teacher ratio and prioritize education in budgets;
(ii)Mandate the Committee on Basic Education and Services to investigate the matter with a view to recommending lasting solutions to the problem of out of school children and report back within six (6) weeks for further legislative action.
Hon. Nurudeen stated that the issue of out-of-school children is a worldwide phenomenon and UNESCO put the statistics of these children at about Fifty Million worldwide, with the children of the poor regions of Africa and Asia making up the greater percentage. He stated that Nigeria alone has over Ten Million, Five Hundred Thousand children out of school, with female children making up about Sixty percent of this number. He named low regard for education, tradition, early marriage, insurgency in the Northeastern part of the nation as some of the reasons why this trend prevails in Nigeria. He asserted that no nation can attain economic growth without a sound and stable education system, hence the nation must ensure more children go to school. He reminded the House that when the girl child and education activist, Malala visited Nigeria in 2017, she called for a state of emergency for the education system. Hon. Segun Adekola stated that Nigeria cannot continue to grapple with insecurity and insurgency, as those affected in those areas fear to send their wards back to school for fear of abduction. He expressed his fear for the future of the out-of-school children. Hon. Gudaji Muhammed Kazaure stated that the ruling party APC had in their campaign in 2015 promised free education to the people of Nigeria, he called on the Federal Government to fulfill this promise so that more children can enjoy the right to quality education. The Motion was voted and passed as amended to make primary and secondary school education free and compulsory.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT
A Bill for an Act to make Comprehensive Provisions for the Confiscation, Forfeiture and Management of Properties Derived from unlawful activities; and for Related Matters (HB. 872) (Hon. Kayode Oladele ) – Committee of the Whole: 18/1/
Item stepped down by leave of the House.
The House adjourned Plenary till Tuesday, March 27 by 11:00 Am